The California State Legislature has adjourned for the year, and the deadline has passed for the Governor to take action on legislation sent to his desk. Overall, AKC is pleased with the outcome of the 2023 legislative session. AKC is proud to have supported a bill that will make Californians safer by providing access to emergency shelters for people and their pets. The 2023 session also saw bills that seek to expand access to veterinary care and bills concerning public safety.
AKC thanks you for joining in our efforts to protect the rights of responsible dog owners throughout the legislative session. Please be sure to check the AKC Legislative Action Center for the latest information on continuing issues throughout the state, including a proposal to change to breeder permit laws in Los Angeles.
Bills passed and signed into law:
- Assembly Bill 781 – Accessibility to emergency information and services: emergency shelters: persons with pets.
Summary: This bill requires cities and counties to designate emergency shelters that are able to accommodate persons with pets upon the next update of their emergency action plan. AKC is proud to have supported this bill and looks forward to its implementation. As extreme weather continues to threaten many Californians, it is important that people have a place to go for both themselves, their families, AND their pets when emergencies strike.
- Assembly Bill 1399 – Veterinary medicine: veterinarian-client-patient relationship: telehealth.
Summary: This proposal expands the ability of veterinarians to practice telehealth. Supporters claim it will be easier for Californians to establish a relationship with a veterinarian and to receive care for their pets. They also believe it could significantly expand veterinary care access in rural or urban areas. Opponents note that relying solely on telehealth could worsen health outcomes for animals. AKC monitored this legislation.
- Senate Bill 669 – Veterinarians: veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
Summary: This bill authorizes a registered veterinary technician to establish a Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) under the supervision of a veterinarian for purposes of administering preventive or prophylactic vaccines or medications. Supporters of the bill say this proposal will increase the amount of qualified vaccine administrators available and allow for veterinarians to perform more skilled, critical functions. Opponents of this proposal claim that Senate Bill 669 would ease the establishment of creating a VCPR and lessen regulations. AKC monitored this legislation.
Bills not passed that AKC continues to monitor for 2024:
- Assembly Bill 554 – Corporations for the prevention of cruelty to animals: enforcement of laws.
Summary: This bill would have clarified animal cruelty enforcement rules. After working with the author’s office and the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the author agreed to remove troubling language that AKC feared could have gone past the stated intent of the bill. Although the bill did not pass, AKC will continue to monitor this and other proposals in 2024.
- Assembly Bill 1215 – Pets Assistance with Support Grant Program: homeless shelters: domestic violence shelters: pets.
Summary: This proposal would have set up a program for state administered grants to assist pets of individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for domestic violence survivors and their pets when accessing the shelter system. All too often, many people in these at-risk demographics are forced to forgo shelter and remain in dangerous situations simply for owning a pet. Although this bill was vetoed by the governor over budgetary issues, AKC looks forward to supporting similar legislation in the future.
- Assembly Bill 742 – Law enforcement: police canines.
Summary: This bill would have prevented the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. AKC recognizes the value of highly trained working K9s for a wide variety of jobs including detection, search and rescue, and other public safety functions. AKC will continue to monitor this proposal into 2024.
- Senate Bill 89 — Crimes: stalking.
Summary: This bill sought to bring California’s stalking statutes in line with federal law, including to offer legal protections for victims AND their pets. Although this bill passed unanimously in the state Senate, it stalled in the state Assembly. AKC was proud to work with the author’s office on this bill and looks forward to working on it again in 2024.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor bills in California impacting dog owners and will provide updates. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.